Meat, milk from cloned cattle safe
Analysis of protein, fat, and other variables routinely assessed by the dairy industry revealed no significant differences in the milk.
Meat and milk from cloned bulls and cows meets industry standards and beef and milk from cloned cattle are safe for human consumption, researchers have said.
In the study, researchers from the University of Connecticut in the US and the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in Japan cloned a Japanese black beef bull and Holstein dairy cow using somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same technique used to clone the sheep Dolly in year 1996, says Xinhua.
They compared the meat and milk from the clones to that of animals of similar age, genetics, and breed created through natural reproduction. Analysis of protein, fat, and other variables routinely assessed by the dairy industry revealed no significant differences in the milk.
'In this study, we conducted extensive comparisons of the composition of milk and meat from somatic cloned animals to those from naturally reproduced comparator animals,' said Xiangzhong Yang who led the study.
'We found no significant differences between clones and their controls, and all parameters examined for the clones in this study were within the normal range of beef and dairy products approved for human consumption.'
There has been much debate about whether it is safe to eat cloned livestock and their offspring. US federal regulators began looking at cloned food safety four years ago as it became clear that the cloning technique that led to the 1996 birth of Dolly the sheep had commercial potential.
The new study examined more than 100 meat quality criteria, of which 90 percent showed no noteworthy variations. However, eight variables related to the amount of fat and fatty acids in the meat were significantly higher in the meat from the clones, but the researchers said these were within beef industry standards.
'The data generated from our match-controlled experiments provide new science-based information desired by regulatory agencies to address public concerns about the safety of meat and milk from somatic animal clones,' Yang noted.
'Information on the composition of meat and milk from somatic clones of food animals is extremely limited and highly desired.'
Providing a cautionary note, Yang said that this study was conducted with a relatively small number of diary and beef clones and the clones of each breed were derived from a single genetic source.
'The experiments presented here are a pilot study to provide guidelines for more conclusive studies with larger numbers of clones from different genetic backgrounds, in order to further increase the consumers' confidence concerning product safety of somatic cloned food animals,' he said.